Directed by: Walt Dohrn
Written by: Elizabeth Tippet
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Camila Cabello, Eric Andre, Troye Sivan, Kid Cudi, Daveed Diggs, RuPaul, Amy Schumer, Andrew Rannells, Zosia Mamet
Released: November 30, 2023
Grade: B-

Trolls Band Together

Trolls Band Together is the third film in the animated series which launched in 2016.  They remind me of the Smurfs and they’re a colourful bunch of music-loving creatures who don’t mind an adventure or two.  This film begins with a short prologue about five brothers who teamed up to form a boyband called BroZone.  They found bigtime fame but, in pushing too hard for perfection, they lost their love for the craft and went their separate ways.  They haven’t been together since.

We now slip a few years into the future and learn that one of the brothers, Floyd (Sivan), has been kidnapped by two talentless singers (Schumer and Rannells).  It’s hard to explain… but they’ve stuck Floyd in a perfume bottle made of diamond and are harvesting his “essence” to transfer his beautiful singing voice onto them.  Does that make sense?  Probably not but it’s easy enough to follow once you see it on screen.

The rest of the narrative falls into place as you might expect.  The other four brothers, led by the younger Branch (Timberlake), have to reunite and rescue Floyd before all of his talent is stripped away.  It’s not too bad.  There are superfluous subplots which add nothing (the Bergens’ honeymoon) but it’s a simple narrative which kids can follow.  I enjoyed the cunning villains (you want to see them get what they deserve), the fun voices, and the colourful animation.

The voice cast includes a number of talented singers who have proven themselves in the music industry or on Broadway.  These include Justin Timberlake, Troye Sivan, Daveed Diggs, and Andrew Rannells.  They’re a gifted bunch but the film’s weakest elements are its musical numbers.  The song choices are uninspiring and, when used, they interrupt the flow of the story.  These characters have more to offer when they’re humorously talking with each other as opposed to singing.

The original Trolls was a financial success but both World Tour (released at the start of the pandemic) and Band Together have struggled to set the box-office alight.  They’re not bad films… but these animated creatures are lacking the cute/emotional spark that we’ve seen from other franchises like Toy Story and Despicable Me.  Maybe it’s time to put them to bed and move on?